New York State Expands Workplace Lactation Laws
Effective June 7, 2023, all employers in New York state are required to designate a room or location to allow employees to pump breast milk. The state-wide law, signed by New York Governor Governor Hochul on December 9, follows the current lactation room requirements in state buildings.
New York Lactation Room Requirements
Under the new rules, a lactation room or location must be:
- in close proximity to the work area
- well lit
- shielded from view
- free from intrusion by others
At a minimum, the room or location must contain a chair, a small table or surface on which the employee may place a breast pump and other personal items, nearby access to running water, and an electrical outlet.
The new law (S.4844-B/A.1236-A) applies to all employers. However, employers may be exempt from the requirements of the pumping location if it would impose an undue hardship on the employer.
A Written Policy is Required
Further, the new law also requires employers to adopt and distribute a policy developed by the New York State Department of Labor regarding the rights of nursing mothers in the workplace. Employers must provide the policy to each employee upon hire and annually thereafter, as well as to employees returning to work after the birth of a child.
Workplace Lactation Rules Across the U.S.
Many other states have laws related to breastfeeding and pumping. Federal law also sets standards for workplace expression. Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to provide reasonable break time for non-exempt employees to express breast milk for their nursing children for one year after the child’s birth each time the employee has need to express. Employers are also required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.